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Banned and Challenged Books

Let Freedom Read

Let freedom Read

The American Library Association condemns censorship and works to ensure free  access to information. Every year, the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles a list of the Top10 Most Challenged Books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. The lists are based on information from media stories and voluntary reports sent to OIF from communities across the U.S.

Defining Banned Books

Challenged? Banned? Removed? Restricted? Relocated?

What does banned really mean?


A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. 

Banned and Removed

A banning is the removal of those materials.  Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.  Due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.


Relocating materials can be an outcome to a challenge and can be a form of censorship. 


Restricting access to materials for certain groups is a form of censorship.

Adapted from About Banned & Challenged Books

Why are books challenged?

from ALA's About Banned and Challenged Books 

Books usually are challenged with the best intentions—to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information. See  Notable First Amendment Cases.

Often challenges are motivated by a desire to protect children from “inappropriate” sexual content or “offensive” language. The following were the top three reasons cited for challenging materials as reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom:

  1. the material was considered to be "sexually explicit"
  2. the material contained "offensive language"
  3. the materials was "unsuited to any age group"

Banned and Challenged Book Lists

Banned and Challenged Books Reading List